Syria coalition plans council to hasten rebel restructuring

By REUTERS
July 15, 2013 21:16

PARIS - Syria's opposition coalition wants to create a 10-person executive council to reorganize disparate rebel factions into a structured army with adequate financing and weapons, one of its senior members said on Monday.

Islamist militant groups that have come to the fore in Syria reject the authority of the Western- and Gulf Arab-backed Syrian National Coalition, whose leaders live mostly abroad. Last week foreign Islamist fighters killed a commander of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is aligned with the coalition.

In an interview in Paris, veteran dissident Michel Kilo said the coalition aimed to elect the executive council at its general assembly in the next month. Its members would act as quasi-ministers and would be based within zones under rebel control in Syria and in border areas, he said.

"There will be a bureaucracy linked to the interests of Syrians and independent of the president and the leadership of the coalition," said Kilo, 72, who spent six years in jail for criticizing Syrian President Bashar Assad. He has lived in France for the last two years.


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